Pre- Spring leap with Resilient Herbs at Trade School in the Common Room

104I’ve just signed up to teach my second Herbs for Resilience class as part of the Trade School  at the Common Room in Norwich on 23rd February at St. Laurences Church in Saint Benedict Street.

Basically you share some of your knowledge in the class and people pay you in kind. Trade School calls this bartering for knowledge. It’s a lovely way of doing things.

Jeppe (see below), who is co-organising the event this time, asked me a few weeks ago would I do it again and I was so immersed in winter and snow and the distribution for the first issue of the Transition Free Press newspaper, that I said, gosh I’d love to, but I just haven’t tuned in to the plants yet this year. Gotta tune in to do a class!

It got me a bit worried and then I realised that’s how it usually goes in the deep of winter. And just a day or two later, with the snow melted and the imminence of what some call Imbolc at the beginning of February, I discovered a pot of rather neglected Aloe Veras behind a curtain in the living room, just calling out for some TLC.

So I attended to them and since then the plants inside and out have been resurfacing into my awareness slowly but surely… today I made a plantain ointment from an infused oil I prepared last year. Been meaning to do that for ages.

“Okay, you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll sign up for it,” I replied, when Jeppe asked me again. “We’ll look at some of those spring tonics.”

Below is a post called Common Plants, Common Room, which I wrote on the Transition Norwich blog, This Low Carbon Life just before the first Trade School at the Common Room in November last year. I went to Jeppe’s Time Skills session, and learnt some Origami with Vanessa. Jon did bring me that coffee plant from the Eden Project. And my class went really well to boot.

Although the classes are set up so people book in and bring you something you want that you’ve put in your request list, I really wasn’t expecting anything, so the box of organic fruit and veg from Vanessa and the packet of seeds from Laura were lovely surprises.

It was a really great day! And the next one’s looking good too! Why not join us?

Pic: Teaching Herbs for Resilience at the Common Room, Norwich, November 2012 (Jeppe Graugaard)

Common Plants, Common Room (1 November 2012)

“I’ll teach a class on Herbs for Resilience,” I said to Jeppe at a recent Dark Mountain conversation in Norwich.

We were talking about the ‘Trade School’ at The Common Room prototype day at St Laurence church on 10th November, where in exchange for a barter item’ (which can be goods, produce or advice) you teach about something you know to people who want to know about it.

This sounds like a project that could help build resilience in a time of energy and financial constraints and ecological crisis. You meet people and get to swap some great skills. Most of what I’ve been doing in Transition over the past few years is helping people to connect with plants on all sorts of levels: as food, as medicine, as insect pollinators, as biospheric beings in their own right. Paying a different kind of attention to the plants around us.
“This is exciting,” I said. “In fact, I can do a herb class that’s part Plants for Life, part Low Carbon Cookbook. And I know just the local, wild plants to introduce to people.”

I’m keeping those two plants a secret until the day, but I already have loads of ideas for future sessions on resilient herbs, based on all the Plants for Life events this year with Sustainable Bungay: making fruit leathers from hawthorn berries and apple, for example, both tasty and a tonic for the heart and circulation. Making the most of the wild plants of spring: nettle, cleavers, dandelion, to galvanise our systems into action after the winter. Making plant oils and medicinal teas.

I look forward to attending Jeppe’s class on Time skills – Navigating life in the networked society (23pm) and maybe even Vanessa’s one on practical origami (3.304.30pm). Check here for the complete timetable, a description of the sessions and teachers and to sign up for classes.

And maybe fellow TN blogger Jon might pop by during the day, as he has a plant present for me from the Eden Project!

The whole day is about “exploring a way to bring St Laurence’s church back into use as a new type of shared space”.

So if you’d like this to be carried into the future, step inside, love!

It would be great to see you there! My class on Herbs for Resilience begins at 11.30am and will last around forty-five minutes.

Saturday 10th November, 9am – 4pm, St Laurence’s Church, Saint Benedict Street, Norwich NR2 4PGPic:  Collecting Yarrow from Herbs for Resilience – Yarrow, This Low Carbon Life, September 2010; Teaching a Medicine Plant workshop with Transition Belsize, London, May 2012
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